Yesterday’s “oopsie” post drew two emails:
“I know it’s fun (and easy!) to bag on Willow, but that site’s interpretation of the Willow survey (I think there are 300+ churches in it now) is pretty far off. You’ll probably want to see the presentation or read the book before making sweeping “Dr Spock” comments. Willow doesn’t think they’re wrong about being “Seeker-Sensitive,” that’s a common misinterpretation that’s taking place in the blagosphere. Actually, the data shows that the “Seeker-Sensitive” model works pretty well at bringing people to Christ, so I doubt they’ll be stopping that any time soon.
“The big idea that comes out of the survey is that there’s only so much the church is really able to do for you; eventually you grow to a point where you’re not going to grow without taking responsibility for your own growth. Once you get to that point, there’s honestly not as much ”programming” (including things like Adult Sunday School, Wednesday night Bible teaching, etc) that the church can do for you. This jives pretty well with my own experience: you can keep feeding your folks deep Biblical content until the end of time, but all you’re really doing is teaching them to depend on you to feed them.”
“A couple of things. First — I enjoy your blog enormously and you’re a regular stop on my daily read. Common sense, humour, and and edge. Keep up the excellent work. By the way, you seem a lot taller on your blog.
“Second — re: “Oopsie” You might want to take what Bob Burney says re: Willow Creek with a grain of salt. I first read that article on townhall.com at the end of October and I have been intrigued how some have picked it up. I’m a pastor who has found some of the Willow Creek resources rather helpful over the last decade and one of the things I most appreciate about them is that they’re very happy to share their successes and their failures. The study that Burney is referring to isn’t the damning revelation that he claims. I, and a couple of dozen others in my congregation (we’re United Church, believe it or not 🙂 ) attended one of the satellite locations of the most recent Leadership Summit that the Willow Creek people organize. Bill Hybels spoke about this study at some length and to state the results in the way Burney chooses to do so is rather disingenuous. I passed on the article to a couple of my colleagues and they were scratching their heads at his conclusions. The Willow Creek people by no means reject all they’ve claimed over the years, but they do say that they’ve not been as successful in growing mature Christians as they had thought. Having read the study they did (it is called “Reveal” and if you’re so inclined you can get some more info about it through their website) I would characterize their shift more in terms of an adjustment than the radical revisiting of their core beliefs that Burney suggests.”